During conference call last week it was announced that Electronic Health Records will be totally voluntary for patients:
"We are extremely sensitive to the need for privacy and security of information," said Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology at HHS. "It is one of our very top priorities. And we have, actually have a health-information technology policy committee of national experts. We held a hearing on this topic just 10 days ago. This very question came up. We’ve charged that committee with studying how to protect patient information and they’re going to be reporting back to us."
"We want to make it clear that no one will ever have to use an electronic health record, if they don’t want to, and that when you do have electronic health records, they’ll have every conceivable privacy protection that is compatible with a useful health-care system,” Blumenthal continued. “So, we’re going to wait to see what this panel reports back to us on in terms of the exact protections that we’re going to build in."
Blumenthal was asked in a follow-up question to clarify if the EHRs were mandatory or voluntary.
"Let me say this again: No one will ever be forced to use an electronic health record if they don’t want to," said Blumenthal. "This is always going to be between doctors and patients. Now... so that’s a given and so that, by definition, makes them voluntary."